My Anime Instrumentality

I’m sure none of you whale sharks have ever noticed that I actually like music in my anime. I have lists of anime music in my iPod and a list of soundtracks that I rape on Youtube. I’ve never really bothered collecting my thoughts on it, but I guess now is a good time since I actually managed to come up with this paragraph.

Opening Songs

I generally like OPs, even the generic ones. I guess something really clicks to me when a certain piece of music is made to pair with certain poppy animations and the synch is really eyecandy. I appreciate artsy fartsy OPs that try something different but I have to say, awesome synching is really the best. It’s like resonance, a certain piece of whatever is paired with another whatever to create something really REALLY cool.

Of course it actually has to sound nice. No matter how cool (or hot) the Mine Fujiko OP is, I’m not gonna put the music in my iPod since without the Animation+music synch, it would be just some old granny narrating sexy lines. Fate/Zero’s OPs aren’t exactly “original” since it’s just a bunch of random scenes that look cool put together with Kalafina’s hauntingly operatic voice but THIS I would put in my iPod. Raping the OP sequence aside, when I remember Fate/Zero, I remember this OP (and not some slutty grandma). It speaks of what Fate/Zero is.

OPs that I love:

again – YUI (Brotherhood OP 1) – I first heard YUI in one of Bleach’s OPs (rolling star) but her performance in Brotherhood is a tad bit more dramatic (but keeping the rock) and a lot cooler with the animation that synchs with it.

Hiyoku no Hane – eufounius (Yosuga no Sora) – The only good thing about Yosuga no Sora is the aesthetics, like the OST for example. This OP speaks volumes of the emotional highs of a tragedy of two lovers who cannot be together (or that’s how the beats felt) and this is what Yosuga no Sora is (or is supposed to be but its crap!).

Forever We Can Make It – THYME (To Love Ru) – It’s a really funky rock OP that complements the rather ecchi comic style of the OP. I’m one of the few that actually liked To Love Ru and its sexiness and this OP is constant reminder of its SEXY.

Level 5 – judgelight – fripSide (To aru Kagaku no Railgun OP 2) – Very epic and techno, it felt a lot larger than what it really is. The animation that went with it (Biribiri and Kuroko being all epic) just made it even epic-er so whenever I listen to this song, I can’t help but remember Railgun’s best parts. Generally though, I like most of fripSide’s works.

Let Me Be With You – Round Table ft. Nino (Chobits OP) –Ooooh ooohh oooh oooh yeah. A very simple yet very effective OP. Once Chii moved and touched Hideki, I was like “Power of Love!”

Ending Songs

Half the ending songs I watch, I just skip but there are really good ones. Ending Songs could either heighten up your emotional involvement of a show (Cross Game) or ruin it if ever so slightly (CLANNAD : AS). But when ending songs are good, they end up really good.

I especially love ending songs that segue through the last bits of the episodes. Some really make certain scenes 10 times better like Cross Game (again), Toradora, Anohana, AnoNatsu, Honey & Clover (get my vibe?)

EDs that I love:

Koi Kogarette Mitta Yume – ayaka (Cross Game ED1) – It’s very emotional and it really lifted Wakaba’s death and its aftermath to highs not many anime can reach.

Aru ga Mama – Anamu&Maki (Nabari no Ou ED 2) – The ending showed some refreshing bromance between two characters that couldn’t really get much rest in the entirety of the series. The aloofness and subtlety of the ED really reflects these two’s personalities. Plus it sounds really relaxing.

Can You Fly – Ishii Yasushi (Darker than Black Gaiden ED) – Just plain different from the usual rock songs. Again it sorta reflects the ongoing experiences and hardships of Hei and Yin.

Mistake – THE BAND HAS NO NAME (Honey and Clover ED 2) – Bike Ride beats Waltz’ ferris wheel sequences. It really is just an accident that I loop this more than usual. Seriously good stuff though when soundtripping at night.

Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari – Supercell (Bakemonogatari ED) – Words cannot express how much I love this song.

Original Soundtracks

Soundtracks bring life into anime. Whether it’s electronic techno or fully orchestrated, you can’t help but memorize some of the music in your head. When you start remembering the OSTs, I think that’s when you can call it Good. A soundtrack should bring the emotions of the anime to different heights yet stand out at the same time. Fortunately a lot of Anime are able to do this.

Best Pieces:

Song of Storm and Fire – (Insert piece in Tsubasa Chronicle) – This is definitely Kajiura’s masterpiece. I know she has Kalafina now but MY GOD does this piece still haunt me to this day.

Lapis Philosophorum – (Insert piece in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood) – The goldmine in Akira Kenju’s full orchestral soundtrack, played by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Lapis Philosophorum really just complements the epic scenes in Brotherhood.

Will of the Heart – (Insert Piece in Bleach) – Nothing is as sad as this piece in anime. Bleach has a really good soundtrack but this stands out. It fulfilled the slightly somber, slightly mystifying, and slightly miserable side of the First 20+ episodes of Bleach.

Lost my Pieces – (Insert Piece in Toradora) – They play this in every scene that’s slightly more dramatic than the usual Toradora antics. Beautiful and melodic is all that I can say.

Monochrome – (Insert Song in STAR DRIVER) – It’s definitely the best of the transformation songs in STAR Driver.

Best Soundtracks:

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Very orchestral, very bold, very eye poppingly epic. You cannot create a soundtrack heavier than this one.

Xxx Holic: I recognize a lot of its pieces. There are very haunting ones (Chidji no Tobira) and relatively light hearted ones (Small Box, Zashiki Warashi). It’s a well balanced soundtrack in which every single track is just slightly better than your usual mystery soundtracks.

Toradora: While the light soundtracks aren’t much (but they’re very memorable when you listen to them), the heavy ones are amazing. I repeat, I love Lost my Pieces.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: It’s very different from the usual Kajiura. There’s a more “native” and “folky folk folk” vibe to it. Maybe it’s the use of flutes on some scenes. It’s like Fairy Tail meets Brotherhood type of music if you ask me.

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So yeah, this is me going all Anime Instrumentality. No offense though I really love that blog. It’s nice that I can collect my thoughts from time to time and combine different things I’ve learned and love in one post.

Anime Music really is something to behold.

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Anime Oscars I (Year End Review)

Best Male Character: Okabe Rintarou (won the award after swearing to a street vendor)

Best Female Charcter: Homura Akemi (won the award after admitting she’s lesbian to Madoka-sama)

Best Villain: Kyuubey (won the award after eating himself)

Most disappointing Anime: BLOOD-C (won the award when the “main cast” formally introduced themselves. I felt like CLAMP spat on me.)

Anime to exceed expectations: Nichijou (won the award after making me laugh for 26 weeks)

Top 20:

20. To Aru Majutsu no Index II: (Shit first half/godly second half.)

19. Denpa Onna to Sishun Otoko: (Emotional Uplift)

18. Kamisama Dolls: (Everyone is a touch insane)

17. Ben-to: (Made me hungry)

16. Ao no Exorcist: (those anime original episodes bogged it down a bit)

15. Horou Musuko: (Gender Sensitivity Award of the year)

14. Level E: (First three episodes had me cracking NONSTOP)

13. Dantalian no Shoka: (Really nice episodic series.)

12. STAR DRIVER: (KIRABOSHI!)

11. UN-GO: (Wittiest mysteries I’ve ever seen.)

10. Hanasaku Iroha: (When its good, its amazing. When its bad, lol.)

9. Fate/Zero: (Damn you cliffhanger. Now I have to wait 4 months for the next episode.)

8. Usagi Drop: (Sweetest family-oriented anime I’ve ever seen. Made me want to become a dad.)

7. Moshidora: (Still have goosebumps remembering that certain scene in Episode 9 *gambare*)

6. Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season: (Development wasn’t slower as a snail this time around.)

5. Mawaru Penguindrum: (Symbolisms galore.)

4. Anohana: (Menma ;____;)

3.  Nichijou: (The most ballsiest and mundane comedy series I’ve ever watched)

2. Steins;Gate: (VN adaptation done right. Best cast of characters, best story, great plot twist, a unique take on time travelling. . . it really is quite the anime.)

1. Madoka Magica: (Far far ahead as my no. 1. Let’s just say that the Deconstruction of the Mahou Shoujo genre ultimately triumph.)

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2011 was one of the better years for anime. 2-cour is back, so are original adaptations. Let’s just hope something even comes close to Nisemonogatari this year (even Madoka is nowhere close to the likes of Bakemonogatari) so I can call it a great year too.

Cheers!

 

animeoscarslogo

Anime Oscars Production Category

Qualifications: Anime that have proved themselves through their production.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Fate/Zero

Sure there are a lot of anime that’s as good in animation as Fate/Zero, but Fate/Zero stands out as the anime that looks like a movie. Kudos to ufotable for that of course, as their Kara no Kyoukai adventures really paid off; I can only wish that they do more anime of this caliber.

Notables: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Ben-To, Mawaru Penguindrum

Best Production nominee: Fate/Zero

Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.

BEST ANIMATION

Nichijou

Kyoto Animation’s work for this year introduces how far animation can go with its imaginative ways on telling Nichijou’s quirky and fun jokes. Not only that, the fluidity of the characters movement in Nicihijou is unrivalled, much like most of KyoAni’s work.

(To tell you the truth, it was a big tossup between this and Hanasaku Iroha)

Notables: Hanasaku Iroha, Fate/Zero, Star Driver

Best Production nominee: Nichijou

While the title suggests a story of simple, everyday school life, the contents are more the opposite. The setting is a strange school where you may see the principal wrestle a deer or a robot’s arm hide a rollcake. However there are still normal stories, like making a card castle or taking a test you didn’t study for.

BEST ARTISTIC DIRECTION

Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum always brings something different to the table with its production. Whether the way it interprets the story, the varied train scenes, or the majestic sets (note Episode 9), Mawaru Penguidrum never fails to amaze me with its creativity.

(Again this was a tossup between Penguins and Meguca)

Notables: Madoka Magica, Yumekui Merry, Dantalian no Shoka

Best Production nominee: Mawaru Penguindrum

Three siblings, twins Kanba and Shouma, and the in-and-out-of-the-hospital Himari who’s in poor health, live together at the Takakura home. One day, when the siblings are out on a trip to the aquarium, Himari collapses. The doctors state that nothing can be done for her anymore, but then, a miracle occurs…

BEST BACKGROUND DESIGNS

Hanasaku Iroha

Hanasaku Iroha makes many scenes look realistic with how detailed their backgrounds are. Also their use of CGI is very applaudable. Unlike shows which just paste their CGI here and there (ehem Last Exile and T&B) Hanairo actually bothers in making their CGI look very seemless with its 2D designs. Sometimes you’d be surprised that the background of Hanasaku Iroha was made and not real life. Sometimes you’d be surprised that the Hanairo backgrounds look even better than real life ones.

Notables: Dantalian no Shoka, Madoka Magica, Kimi ni Todoke Season 2, Horou Musuko

Best Production nominee: Hanasaku Iroha

After her single mother decides to run off with a boyfriend to dodge debt collectors, the young and energetic Ohana is sent to live with her grandmother. However, her grandmother is the strict owner of a hot springs inn and requires her to work at the inn to pay for her living expenses. Although Ohana is unhappy about this situation at first, she decides to make the best of her situation and work hard. Ohana’s life is suddenly filled with fun, mischief, and drama!

Best Soundtrack

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Sure there were a lot of awesome OSTs this year but what makes Madoka Magica triumph over all? CUS ITS FROM YUKI KAJIURA that’s why! Not much can be said except how the OST here is quite different from the usual Yuki Kajiura making it a lot yummier to listen to. Oh yeah go check out Mami’s theme song if you haven’t.

Notables: Hanasaku Iroha, Ben-to, Anohana, Ao no Exorcist

Best Production nominee: Madoka Magica

Beloved family, good friends, laughter and tears – these things make up the ordinary life of Kaname Madoka, a second year student of Mitakihara City Middle School. One night, Madoka dreams of a mysterious dark haired girl struggling against a terrible evil; the next morning she discovers that the girl, Akemi Homura, has transferred into her class. This encounter will lead to an incident which will alter Madoka’s fate forever.

Best OP/ED

Nichijou OP1 and 2

Haaydin is fucking awesome. In this two songs of Nichijou, he manages to make the voice of a male and a female and not make it look like so. I was really surprised when I learned about this. Also KyoAni went wild with the accompaniment animation for this which makes Nichijou’s two Ops the best this year.

Notables: To Aru Majutsu no Index II OP 2, Steins;Gate OP, No. 6 ED, Gosick ED

Best Insert Song

STAR DRIVER: Monochrome by Haruka Tomatsu

While I love Mami’s theme and most of Hanairo’s insert songs, STAR DRIVER’s Monochrome beats out the rest with how catchy it is and how it really fits with the battles on STAR DRIVER.

Best Production

Nichijou

It’s safe to say Nichijou was the best this year. It had awesome and creative animation; it took the initiative to really incorporate its animation with its jokes and most of all, it never ever looked bad. No awkward character designs, everything was fluid; you just can’t get any better than this (for this year).

Nominees: Madoka Magica, Mawaru Penguindrum, Hanasaku Iroha, Fate/Zero

 

More in store in the next Anime Oscars Category: Story

Saimoe 2011 – Round 2 Block E Day 1

Wow, this is really quite an overkill. Raildex really has the lower hand this time. Sayaka and Mami combo is way too overkill, considering Sayaka can already beat those two without help. Poor Saten and Uiharu.

Picks: Saten, Mami

Prediction: Puella Overkill

*Oh my God Uiharu currently gets more votes than Saten?? Sad day for us Raildex-ers.

BD/DVD Sales in Japan goes up in 1st half of 2011

FROM ANN

So apparently its been going down since the 1st half of 2009. 2009 actually had a smaller decline of drop but we all know why right?

2009 saved a little = BAKEMONOGATARI (abt. 70- 80k units sold per volume), K-ON!

2011 saved a lot = Madoka Magica (abt. 70k), Anohana (abt. 35k), IS, Tiger and Bunny, etc.

I just love how its SHAFT who has the two monsters under its belt.

I don’t know the point of this post :)). I just thought of Bakemonogatari airing in 2009 and Madoka this year.

 

 

Saimoe Round 2 Block C and D

Winners in C: Madoka, Hercule ; Elsea, Run

Winners in D: Nero, Ika Musume(fuck yeah!); Last Order, Yuno

Surprise, surprise: Milky Holmes is really strong. Maekawa lost in D and Hercule pretty much dominated in A.

Dissapointing: Denpa Onna is completely fazed. No more contestants from that show :(.

Rough Day: Menma. Anohana is also fazed out, but at least Menma is now in heaven. I am still dumbfounded on how Anaru lost in Round 1.

Potential: A-channel. God they’re getting really good with their wins.